Sharks in Japan

Unlike other parts of the world, sightings are pretty standard – though there aren’t many attacks. Of the world’s 400 shark species, 124 -almost a third – live in Japanese waters. The country is home to primarily coastal sharks of the temperate zone but oceanic and deep sea sharks as well.

Places where you can see sharks include Chubu, Kanto, and Okinawa, where schools of up to 100 scalloped hammerhead sharks swim about. Thresher sharks live around the Nanpo Islands or the Mugi area.

Sharks in Japan

List of the Different Types of Sharks in Japan

Species Maximum


Banded Houndshark 3.2-4.9 feet Not aggressive
Basking Shark 23-30 feet Not aggressive
Bigeye Thresher Shark 11-16 feet Not aggressive
Blacktip Reef Shark 3-4 feet Moderately aggressive (if provoked)
Blacktip Shark 5-8 feet Moderately aggressive
Blue Shark 6-11 feet Not aggressive
Clouded Angelshark 5-5.3 feet Not aggressive
Common Thresher Shark 12-18 feet Not aggressive
Dusky Shark 9 -12 feet Not aggressive (until provoked)
Great Hammerhead Shark 15-20 feet Highly aggressive
Great White Shark 11-16 feet Highly aggressive
Gulper Shark 2.5-3 feet Not aggressive
Japanese Angel Shark 4.9 to 8.2 feet Not aggressive
Japanese Bullhead Shark 3.8-4 feet Not aggressive
Japanese Wobbegong 3-3.3 feet Not aggressive
Longfin Mako Shark 12-14 feet Highly aggressive
Nilson’s Deepsea Dogfish 5-5.2 feet Not aggressive
Oceanic Whitetip Shark 10-13 feet Highly aggressive
Pelagic Thresher Shark 13-18 feet Not aggressive
Sand Tiger Shark 7-10 feet Not aggressive (due to their small mouths)
Sandbar Shark 5.5-8.5 feet Not aggressive
Scalloped Hammerhead Shark 9-12 feet Moderately aggressive
Shortfin Mako Shark 6.5-9.5 feet Highly aggressive
Smalltooth Sand Tiger Shark 12-14 feet Not aggressive
Smooth Hammerhead Shark 8-12 feet Not aggressive (but are potentially dangerous)
Spiny Dogfish 2.5-3.5 feet Not aggressive (due to their small size)
Tawny Nurse Shark 9.6-10 feet Not aggressive
Thresher Shark 10-18 feet Not aggressive
Tiger Shark 10-14 feet Highly aggressive
Whale Shark 18-32 feet Not aggressive
White Spotted Bamboo Shark 2-3 feet Not aggressive
Whitetip Reef Shark 3-5.5 feet Moderately aggressive (only when provoked)
Zebra Shark 8.2-11 feet Not aggressive

Recent Cases of Shark Attacks in Japan >>



There were only 27 recorded attacks between 1862 and 2016 in Japan. The most recent incident took place during a surfing incident at Irino Beach in Kochi Prefecture on 24th July 2016. The victim was a 29 year old male who suffered lacerations to his left leg.


Out of the 20 countries known for fishing for sharks, Japan ranks 9th. Almost 25,000 tonnes of sharks are fished up annually. Naturally, several species are at risk of going extinct.


Yes, there are several places where you can do so. One of the most popular experiences around Okinawa involves diving and interacting with whale sharks.


Yes, great white sharks have been seen in Japanese waters.

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